Venice - Reviews

Sarah Moon at Palazzo Fortuny

1 year ago

“Every photograph is the last witness, if not the last evidence, of a moment that would otherwise be lost forever; it’s the sense of loss and of time passing…and of death. […] In the action of capturing an instant and making it exist once again, there is life in death; it’s a bit like the spirit and the body, you might say that the body, the event, disappears in the instant in which it is captured, but the soul remains and the photograph is the soul of every instant, the soul of the person whose end we just saw…”

– Sarah Moon (Coincidences, Delpire, 2001)

 

 

These are the last few days to visit the wonderful Sarah Moon’s exhibition at Palazzo Fortuny in Venice (open until 1 May 2016), curated by Adele Re Rebaudengo and Alexandra de Léal.

Sarah Moon (1941) is one of the greatest photographers of all times. The exhibition at Palazzo Fortuny enchanted me, I felt mesmerized by the photographs and their perfect symbiotic relation with the venue’s atmosphere. While admiring the inkjet and silver salts prints, the curator Adele Re Rebaudengo explained to me how this exhibition was conceived, sprouting from her passion for Venice and her friendship with Sarah Moon. In 2015, Ms. Re Rebaudengo curated an exhibition of Sarah Moon’s images at Palazzo Madama in Turin, a project by Agarttha Arte, where she presented her works about Palazzo Fortuny along with the works of Pino Musi and Marco Maria Zanin about Casa Mollino. The fascinating theme “house-museums of artists” was the starting point and the first inspiration that brought about the idea of this exhibition. “Sarah Moon is the ideal photographer to show at Palazzo Fortuny” states Ms. Re Rebaudengo, “her brilliant personality, her photographic talent and her artistic path make her and her images the ideal guests for an exhibition at this Palazzo”. Our dialogue continues and she entertains me with fascinating details regarding the personal history and style of the artist.

Sarah Moon is intrigued and inspired by the concept of Time. She approaches her subject with an oneiric and imaginative expressivity, staging an intimate reality filtered by memory and the unconscious. She uses light in a special way, blending white areas and creating mysterious atmospheres. In fact, mystery and sensuality are at the very core of her work. She avoids codified languages, capturing emotional scenes.

Moon’s images recall fragments of an inner story, memories of a magnificent past. The photographs on show are a tribute to Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (1871-1949), an outstanding artist with an eclectic personality: painter, photographer, inventor, stage designer, and designer of fabrics. The images portray Palazzo Pesaro Orfei (otherwise known as Palazzo Fortuny), venue of the exhibition: on the one hand, images of the house-museum; on the other hand, details of the statues housed within, a homage to the plissé. In the Gothic Palazzo Mr. Fortuny set up one of the most important workshop-studios for the creation of sumptuous fabrics and drapes which were used for the clothes he designed, now on permanent show.

Sarah Moon, like Mariano Fortuny, is a rather eclectic character. During her career, she has turned from being a model into being a photographer and filmmaker. A free spirit, she is an extraordinary photographer with a very humble view of her work. Moon believes that “chance” dominates over “will”, as if fate would decide everything. Images are vulnerable and ephemeral, they represent an echo of what the photographer has in mind. She shoots intimate photos recreating surreal ambiences where light plays a fundamental role and an imaginary reality is staged, as in a visionary process. And if “the most creative part of us is the part closest to our childhood”, the concepts of Time and Memory return cyclically in Moon’s work where specific importance is given to Life in all its forms.

Sarah Moon’s poetic and visionary style is perfectly suited to Palazzo Fortuny and to Venice, the enigmatic city par excellence. Furthermore, as revealed by Ms. Re Rebaudengo, new and very interesting projects will soon connect the French photographer again to this city…

Teresa Sartore

  • Exhibition view at Palazzo Fortuny, photo by Teresa Sartore Exhibition view at Palazzo Fortuny, photo by Teresa Sartore
  • Exhibition view at Palazzo Fortuny, photo by Teresa Sartore Exhibition view at Palazzo Fortuny, photo by Teresa Sartore
  • Exhibition view at Palazzo Fortuny, photo by Teresa Sartore Exhibition view at Palazzo Fortuny, photo by Teresa Sartore
  • Exhibition view at Palazzo Fortuny, photo by Teresa Sartore Exhibition view at Palazzo Fortuny, photo by Teresa Sartore

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Courtesy of Palazzo Fortuny Venezia